Year of Yosemite (YOY) – Day 105 (Be Aware When Hiking – Floods)

Merced River Walkway Happy Isles

Walkway along the Merced River in the Happy Isles Section of Yosemite

Keeping with yesterday’s theme about potential danger in our national parks, I want to explain another problem hikers and explorers may face during certain times; floods.

Storms are always a major concern when hiking. We were once making our way up Mount Humphries in Arizona which is the highest peak in the state. We were within 500 feet of the top and had been hiking for a long time with many switchbacks. As we took a break to eat our lunch at the saddle, it began to sleet and snow and rain. And if that wasn’t bad enough, lightening soon followed. We had no choice, but to begin our descent. We were exposed and it was risky either way, but staying on the mountain top was not a choice.

We always try to pay attention to the weather, but the potential of sudden storms and perhaps flash floods is a concern. Try to keep an “escape plan” in mind. Is there high ground nearby? If it gets cloudy and threatening, reassess where you are. Always select the safest option. He who turns and hikes away, lives to hike another day!

While visiting the Happy Isles section of Yosemite, we walked along the Merced River. The water was flowing quickly, but we knew that from our previous days.

Merced River Walkway Happy Isles

Did you happen to notice the kiosk across the river in the picture? There was a sign under the kiosk, but it was too small to see in the first picture (circled above).

This is a closeup of the sign

Merced River Walkway Happy Isles

This underscores the point…what seems like a relatively calm, placid, user-friendly place can become dangerous and some times rather quickly.

As Cheryl Strayed wrote in her book Wild, “The universe, I’d learned, was never, ever kidding. It would take whatever it wanted and it would never give it back.”

Stay vigilant my friends!

Do you have a question about our visit to Yosemite? Ask it in the comment section. originally published this post
*All photographs Copyright by Jeffrey B. Ross with all rights reserved.

See previous Year of Yosemite (YOY) posts HERE. If you want to read the introduction to the YOY series, CLICK HERE.